Simple Pierogi

I usually do not enjoy potatoes. I don’t like them mashed or baked, I don’t seek out french fries or chips (although I’ll eat them if they’re in front of me), and just the thought of potato salad makes me a little queasy. So I was a little surprised when I realized that potatoes played a starring role in dinner two out of the past three nights. First, there was the gnocchi. And then last night there was pierogi. Yummy, potato-y pierogi.

Browning the pierogi in a cast iron frying pan

I made this recipe for the first time last fall and it was a complete and utter flop. Not only did it fail, it failed on a night when John’s sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner. It was my first time boiling potatoes and I completely undercooked them. So the filling ended up lumpy and gross, and I was terribly embarrassed. I was somewhat redeemed by the apple tart I made for dessert, but I still feel badly about that dinner. Knowing that the failure was entirely my fault, I put the recipe aside with intentions of making it again. It took a few months to get there, but I’m glad I finally did.

Filling the pierogi

This time I was careful to cut the potatoes into very small pieces and cook them for a good long time. I also adjusted the recipe a little to make cheesy pierogi. With the wonton wrappers, these pierogi aren’t exactly authentic, although they taste delicious. However, I’m not sure that the time saved with the wonton is worth it. The wonton didn’t detract from the taste, but it didn’t add anything either. Either way, filling all those dumplings is just too time-consuming for a weeknight, so I’m not sure if there’s any point to taking the shortcut. Next time I make them I’ll do it the “right” way, and I’ll be sure to compare and contrast between the two.

Onions frying in a cast iron pan

Filling all those pierogi took forever and a day. However, there’s now a large bag full of pierogi in my freezer (right next to the gnocchi) that will take care of three weeknight meals once school starts again. Not only that, but I won’t even have to remember to take anything out of the freezer in the morning. Cooking during the week can be a bit of a struggle for me, so that’s a good thing. But if a freezer bag full of pierogi doesn’t fill you with the same delight and you aren’t feeding a crowd, you should probably halve the recipe.

Pierogi in a serving dish

Quick Cheesy Pierogi

Adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen

Time: Roughly two hours, although it truly depends on how quickly (or slowly, in my case) you are able to fill the dumplings.

Yield: About six servings

Note: Use whatever mix of cheeses you want. I used the ones I did because they were what I had on hand. If you prefer not to brown the pierogi, you can omit that step.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 or 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup Double Glouster, grated
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
salt and black pepper to taste
1 or 2 packages of wonton wrappers

Preparation

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water 20 to 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and mash in a bowl. Once mashed, mix in the cheeses.

Melt the butter in a large heavy frying pan and cook the onions until they soften then lightly brown, darkly browned in spots. Mix the onions in with the potatoes and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a round cookie cutter or tracing around a drinking glass with a sharp knife, cut 10 to 12 wrappers at a time into circles, discarding the extra. Working one at a time, brush the edge of the round wrapper with water and place a spoonful of filling in the center. Fold dumpling in half, pressing the edges together to thoroughly seal.

Place each dumpling on a parchment or waxed paper lined baking sheet and repeat until all filling has been used. If you are planning to freeze them, put the baking sheet into the freezer until the dumplings feel solid and then gather them into a resealable bag. When you’re ready to eat, cook them directly from the freezer, adding an extra minute of cooking time.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and heat a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the frying pan. Add the pierogi to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon directly into the frying pan and lightly brown. It should take about 2 minutes on each side. Serve however you prefer.

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5 Comments »

  1. Jozef Szyja said

    Hello, I found your site looking for sushi recipes, wich is rather uncommon food in my country, especially in the capital, which is abot 500 km far form the sea. So i found amazing fact that here is put one of my national dishes :). I stop grousing now. Lets come to the point
    First – its strongly recomended to prepare “ruskie pierogi” (russian dumplings – the correct name for this dish in Poland. In Russia they are called “polish dumplings”, however they origintated from Ukraine ;) ) form self-made pastry, as its quite easy to do.
    Dumpling pastry –
    3 cups of flour (i consider one cup = 200 cc)
    1 cup of HOT water
    1/4 cup of cold water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 egg

    Half of flour sieve into bowl, add HOT(nearly boiling) water, and stir rapidly for some time(the pastry will be a bit clogged – that`s ok), leave for 5 minutes.
    Add cold water and half of remainig flour. let it rest for another 5 – 10 min. On the big board knead pastry adding the egg & rest of the flour to make rather solid but easy to roll out pastry. The clue here is to use realy HOT water.

    And the second thing ist to use backfat, or a lard, cut into little pieces, fried on the frying pan, instead of oil. it will produce needed fat for frying and delicious greaves which are the indelible addition to pierogi in polish kitchen. Greetings

  2. Karina said

    Jozef
    Thank you so much for sharing the Polish way of making “ruskie pierogi”! I can’t wait to try your pastry recipe. While wonton wrappers are certainly a quick substitute, I’m sure the real thing is vastly superior. Again, thank you for commenting!

    Karina

  3. [...] Taringa       |      Imagen: The flouredapon Pierogi de queso y [...]

  4. Mitch Wagner said

    Hi, you lifted large sections of this recipe from here:

    http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/from-insert-your-origin-here-with-love/

    including entire direct quotes from the instructions, word by word.

    This looks good, and credit where credit is due, but I feel it’s a tad shady to copy/paste a recipe and then list it as your own.

  5. It’s hard to come by experienced people in this particular subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

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